Sunday, June 5, 2016

Meringue (because it sounds fancy)

A couple of weeks ago I made a lemon meringue pie. While I was pretty pleased with myself, I just could not set aside ample time to blog about the experience. Instead, I used a Facebook link and recycled a pie mishap post from my first month of blogging. I figured nobody had read it way back then anyway. I am fairly certain that the post has still been sitting fairly lonely, without many visitors, or at least none who felt compelled to comment. Point taken...if at first you don't succeed, try again, and despite all signs pointing to the contrary, when you still think there is something majestic about the wonders of dessert, beat that topic into the ground where it is sure to never rear its luscious face again.

Oh look, pie! 
What if I told you that you could make this pie? I know there are a couple of you out there who claim to be timid in the kitchen, and maybe meringue intimidates you. Perhaps this little tart keeps calling to me because I am supposed to help lower the bar to the point where you have the confidence to gingerly step over it. Would you like me to do that for you? I will take your stunned silence as a "yes". By the way, if you are already brimming with self-assurance, get yourself over to Pinterest and conquer the world. We're just trying to get through the day over here right now.

How to make a lemon meringue pie in my kitchen...
Get one of those pre-made, unroll it and you're good to go pie crusts. Don't get the kind that is already in the foil, as nobody is going to believe you did any work there. Do a fairly inadequate job of transferring the crust into your pie plate, as it gives the illusion that you were working with an unruly homemade crust. Cut the excess off at odd angles, further adding to the sense that a rolling pin was involved. The idea here is not to fabricate a story, and the truth should be told about the crust to anyone who asks, but there is no need to advertise your lack of effort before the first slice has even been cut. Use a fork to prick a bunch of holes all over the crust bottom and up the sides. Bake the crust for however long it says to on the package.

Get a box of cook and serve lemon pudding mix. Well, you probably should have done this while you were at the store getting the crust, so make sure you have enough eggs too based on the pie directions on the box. Did you know that lemon meringue pie filling is lemon pudding? Sure, some elaborate recipes may call it lemon curd, but let's remember who we are here. Follow the directions on the box for the pudding part of the pie. You've got this! I suppose I could have just told you to read the box, period, and made this post a hell of a lot shorter, but I wanted you to feel like you were getting some moral support.

So the crust is cooked, and the pudding has thickened in some magical science experiment. You know what it's time for now...merengue! Wait, no, that's a dance - which you should absolutely feel free to do while you make the meringue! Do not panic when you see that the recipe calls for cream of tartar. I never have it in the house, and while it may have superpowers, you will be good enough without it. I usually double or at least one and a half the amounts for the meringue called for on the box. I have no idea how many batches the stores use to get that snowy mountain of white. 

Egg whites in, now let that mixer do its magic! You'll know when the "soft peaks form" and that it is time to add the sugar. I probably should have taken some more pictures to help us on this journey, but seriously did not expect this project to linger for so long. I did make sure to take this picture of what was happening as I tried to clean up from my peanut butter toffee bit cookie making, while waiting for the meringue to form the ever elusive stiff peaks.
I probably would have had better luck if I had grabbed the open end of the toffee bit bag. Better still, I could have forgone a chance to multi-task and just stood still for the three minutes or so it took for the peaks. (There appeared to be a trend as this was the scene when I made oatmeal raisin cookies.)
Mmmm...cookies...were we talking about something else? Is anyone still here? I'm starting to lose interest in this topic - FINALLY!!! You can read, so I have faith in you that you can totally finish this project. I always think my meringue is just right to put on the pie, and then when I start pouring it out of the mixing bowl, I realize it is still a little soft, and do you want to know something? It is still okay. Meringue may be a sort of perfect science, but it still works when slightly imperfect. Bake until golden!

Do you even like lemon meringue pie? That might have been a good question to lead with. We can talk about homemade chocolate cream pie instead some other time, as it is even easier! If you have any questions, ask away, and I will try to adopt some sense of authority and knowledge when I answer.

I hope you have enjoyed this first installment of my DIY for underachievers series...if not, it will be a very short series.


  1. excellent yummy looking pie/post. You are very funny! I think we could both make a huge mess in a kitchen, but the music playing would be awesome. Cookies? Ice Cream? I am there

  2. This is HILARIOUS! I love the idea of DIY for underachievers. If you need any guest writers, let me know. I'm consistently underachieving...not just at DIY, but at life.

  3. My mom used to make lemon meringue pie....she's always loved lemon. Me, not so much. It tasted good but it's not a fave. She would always bum hard that her meringue topping would start to 'weep' with little sticky, clear dots of liquid. I had no idea that the lemon filling was pudding though!

  4. My husband loves lemon meringue pie and YES, I've made one...from scratch! Gasp!! Haven't done it in a long time tho. Love your method. So funny! And I'm glad I'm not the only one who ends up with a bunch of schitt on the floor when they bake.


  5. Lemon meringue is my most favorite of pies.
    Now come make me some, please?